Introducing Three New Graduates
We’d like to introduce you to three new Skyline drivers who graduated from our training program and now have one month of solo trips under their belts. Introducing Shawn Elliot, Jan Dula and Darrell Gross.
Meet Shawn Elliot
Before becoming a professional driver, Shawn was a water mitigation technician. “I worked for ServePro for 4.5 years. I helped people dry out their houses after water damage.”
Shawn travelled a lot with that job then moved to Colorado and joined the army where he was stationed in Colorado Springs. “I love the outdoors and enjoyed it every chance I had – rock, climbing, hiking. If it wasn’t for my family being here in Knoxville, I’d still be living there.”
A long-time friend told Shawn about Skyline’s training program. “I had been toying around with wanting to drive for years. Now that my son is old enough to understand why I’ll be coming and going, I knew that this is what I wanted to do. Initially, it was hard getting over the size of the tractor and trailer. I felt like it was so huge, but now it’s not bad at all.”
Shawn went over the road with Skyline driver Dan York and said it was a great experience. “Dan did a fantastic job. He explained everything and allowed me a real perspective of everything – how to make turns, use the qualcomm, talk to customers. He made me very comfortable in the truck.”
Shawn would like four-wheelers to be more mindful. “Please don’t cut off big trucks. It’s not nice.”
An avid outdoors person, Shawn enjoys water skiing, hiking, fishing and going shooting with his son and six nephews.
Meet Jan Dula
Jan Dula hails from the suburbs of Chicago and moved to Knoxville with his family July of 2017. Jan has primarily worked in warehousing – receiving and shipping, operating forklift – but always liked to drive. “I like to drive and was driving for Uber and Lyft for a bit.”
This motivated him make a career move with Skyline’s training program. “Mike Garrabrant made it really easy. He told us how to do it and then let us do it. His hands-off approach was nice and let us figure it out on our own.”
For Jan, the most challenging part of driving is sitting for hours without stopping. What would he like tell all the four-wheelers out there? “Slow it down and be mindful that it takes us longer to stop. We’re not trying to be in your way, but sometimes it is inevitable.”
In his spare time, Jan likes to watch TV and movies. He wants to always be learning and improve as much as possible.
Meet Darrell Gross
Darrell is born and raised in TN, growing up in Knoxville and then moving to Norris. He owned his own business doing custom interior trim for more than 20 years. A slow day and a shortcut actually brought him to Skyline. “Work was slow and I was out driving. I took a shortcut and drove by skyline. I walked in, talked with Bonnie and set up an interview for the training program.”
Darrell quickly moved through the program and said it was a good experience. “Skyline is full of very nice, sweet people. Everyone knows how to take a joke but are professional at the same time.”
Darrell said that passing the knowledge test for his CDL was challenging but driving and backing came very easily to him. Now that he has a month of solo experience, we asked Darrell how it’s going. “Everything has gotten easier. I realize you have to have patience and I’ve learned more patience. I’ve got trucks and vehicles barreling past me, so I just stay back, take my time and do what I do.”
When he’s not driving, Darrell enjoys camping, hiking, deer hunting and dancing. “I dance like a champ.” He can’t dance while he drives so how does he stay healthy while he’s driving?
“I exercise my butt off and bring my own food over the road. I eat lots of apples, crackers and carrots. Lots of PB & crackers.”